Freedom Japanese Market is a family business that curates, packs, and ships original, made-in-Japan snacks to all corners of the globe. About a pound of handpicked Japanese candies and snacks sent straight to your front door!
They have three box sizes:
Puchi Pack – 5 to 8 full size and sample snacks $14.99 p/m (£11.29)
Original Pack – 12 to 16 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $24.99 p/m (£18.89)
Family Pack – 24 to 32 full size and sample snacks including 1 DIY candy kit $45.99 p/m (£34.62) Two of everything – double the snacks without double the price.
Longer subscriptions are lower price, and shipping is included.
I’m reviewing an Original Pack. While the box takes 10 – 20 days to arrive (which coming from Japan with no extra shipping costs is bloody good) it arrived in perfect shape.
This is the box for October, but the mail service was a little slow this month, so it didn’t actually arrive until the beginning of November.
There’s a great anime-style picture of the owners on the box!
This month’s Newsletter.
And the Origami! This fantastic skull is perfect for the spooky season.
The menu and contents list shows all the items in the box. It also notes, handily, that one item contains nuts, for all you allergy sufferers out there.
There are two big bags of snacks this month, so let’s start with those.
First of all, Osatsu Snack. These are a seasonal and limited edition item, only available in the colder months. They are (delicious) sweet potato chips.
Another large savory snack, these Hot Chili Aerial are lovely and spicy, perfect for this cold time of year! They are layered puffed corn snacks with fifteen different spices. I don’t know exactly which spices they are, because I can’t read the package, but I can confirm one of them is definitely chili!
There are also a few Halloween snacks in this box. Even though the box didn’t arrive until November, there’s always room for more Halloween candy!
Or in this case, Halloween Umaibo. If you pay attention to my reviews you will know that I adore umaibo. This delicious puffed corn stick is a regular Corn Pottage flavour, but in cool packaging. Mmmmmmmmm…
This cute little thing is a Cola-flavoured Halloween Marshmallow. It’s actually pretty small, (these pictures aren’t to scale!) but once you get over the slight weirdness of a marshmallow with a cola flavour it’s very nice. And such cute packaging!
This little thing is Pineapple Candy. It’s a little hard candy circle, rather like Lifesavers or Polo Fruits.
Pineapple is a very common flavour in the Japanese snack world. Remember the Pineapple Crisps in last month’s box?
We’re done with the Halloween-themed items, but these are more little individually-wrapped candies, called Puccho Apple Candy.
These are little chewy candies, a bit like Starburst, but infinitely nicer. They have a slightly creamy taste as well as the fruitiness, and also contain tiny little jelly bursts of extra flavour.
These are corn flavoured pretzel sticks called Porickey. They are savory, but the taste of the corn has a slight sweetness. They are very similar to Pretz and just as moreish.
Hooray, another Umaibo! and this one is a CHOCOLATE Umaibo! I’m not sure there is anything more heavenly than this snack. At least, nothing sweet, because I love my savory stuff too.
These are called Kaki no tane, and are another common Japanese snack. They are a mixture of little soy-flavoured rice crackers and peanuts. They are a very popular bar snack, and often eaten with beer.
These are the extra spicy variety. Cheers!
This month’s DIY candy kit is Doki Doki Fishing, and you create little fish-shaped gummies.
It contains a mould, powder, string, plus a measure to add water. The idea is that you lay the string in the mould, before adding powder and water. When the gummy sets, you have a little fishing line of gummy fish!
Finally, the bonus item. These are Puchu Puchu Uranai Chocolate, in strawberry flavour.
These cute little bites are also fortune-telling chocolates! This is how it works:
Every time you pop put a candy out of a bubble, you check the symbol behind the foil. Different bubbles have different meanings.
Anyway, there it all is!
There are slightly fewer items this month than usual: eleven rather then the usual thirteen or more. However I imagine this is because there are the two large-size snack packs, which more than make up for it.
I’m really happy that five out of the eleven are savory snacks, which is definitely a higher proportion than usual. And both big bags are savory! OK, the sweet potato crisps are sweetish, but they’re definitely don’t fall under the heading of sweets.
It’s always lovely to have special seasonal items, and even though Halloween has passed, there’s always leftover candy floating around. This will be a great addition to our stash!
Not the Umaibo though, I’ve already eaten it.
Freedom Japanese Market only sources snacks direct from Japan, so is exactly what you would buy in stores there. You can buy Japanese snacks in the UK, but they are produced for the export market, so are generally different from the domestic versions. Also, the exported items spend months in the shipping process, so won’t be half as fresh.
This is also a family business, and encouraging small businesses is important. Their customer service definitely has a personal touch, not least the creation of all those origami!
As Christmas is sneaking ever closer, this would be a wonderful and original gift. Or you could use the snacks as seriously original stocking fillers.
I think the value is pretty good for what you get. Sourcing all these things individually would be more or less impossible, and never for anything like as cheap as this. As always, smaller boxes (Puchi) aren’t such good value, so I think it’s definitely worth spending the extra eight quid and getting the Regular pack. Or if you want to treat your family, get the Family pack. You’ll still have one of everything for yourself, plus the kudos of sharing!
A different version of this review was first published at allsubscriptionboxes.co.uk